– USD7B Medical Tourism: The African Medical Centre
The African Export – Import Bank, Afreximbank, has pledged to deliver the 300 million US Dollars, 500-bed first African Medical Centre of Excellence, AMCE, in 30 months.
The Centre will provide world class healthcare across the continent in long-term partnership with King’s College Hospital, (KCH) London.
This was revealed by the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah at the groundbreaking ceremony in Abuja, where he noted that the facility will not just be a hospital but a medical hub that will attract foreign direct investment to Nigeria and save over five billion US dollars spent by Africans on medical trips abroad.
According to Prof. Oramah, the move became necessary to protect Africa’s Medical Data in this era where some countries apply the aid of biological warfare and artificial intelligence to impact other nations and continents.
He said the African Medical Centre will offer a full spectrum of medical services (diagnostics, in-patient and out-patient) in oncology, haematology, cardiology and general healthcare services including academic, residential, hospitality and retail.
“Today’s ceremony is one step towards self-reliance for Africa’s healthcare delivery. The 500 bed, estimated 300 million dollars Abuja African Medical Centre of Excellence is conceived to promote intra-Africa medical tourism and to reduce the outflow of over 7 billion dollars in aggregate that we spend as Africans on medical tourism abroad.
“With the proper policy support, this centre will propel Abuja into a hub for medical service with significantly large economic benefits including foreign exchange earnings as well as tripling investments in hotels, transport and other services. I will like to emphasise that we are building more than a hospital, we are developing a centre for medical services.
“It is unacceptable that one than 300, 000 Africans travel to Asia alone annually for medical services spending over five billion US Dollars each year. Nigeria accounts for one billion dollars of that expenditure each year.
“Not only is the outflow of scarce African foreign exchange resources worrying, the free export of Africa health data also poses a great threat to continental security, particularly in this era of biological warfare, and the use of artificial intelligence and machinery to do the good, the bad, the ugly.
“The Abuja African Medical Centre is expected to enhance service export providing healthcare to cover 50,000 people annually, promote employment creating over 3,000 jobs during its construction and operational phases and conserve foreign exchange. Designed under Afreximbank’s 5th Strategic Plan, “IMPACT 2021”, the initiative supports and promotes the diversification of Africa’s exports and the development of world class health facilities on the continent.”
Speaking at the ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari who lauded the initiative said the development of the African Continent rests squarely, in the hands of the wellbeing of its population.
While regretting that most hospitals in the West African sub-Region are underfunded and under equipped, President Buhari explained that the decision of his government to partner Afreximbank to situate one of the best hospitals in the world in Nigeria, is in realisation of the existing healthcare deficit.
“The Africa Medical Centre of Excellence will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing the blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges simultaneously.
“The Government of Nigeria has partnered with Afreximbank to develop the African Medical Centre of Excellence in Abuja, which will provide world class medical services at par with the world’s most prestigious hospitals, thus restoring trust in the local health system.”
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory who was among several local and international dignitaries at the ceremony, pledged that the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, will do all in its power to support the project.
Nigeria is said to have emerged as winners of the AMCE after coming tops in a rigorous bidding exercise.